Sat, Nov 30, 2013 - Page 13 News List

Real-estate transactions experience slight pick-up

MOVING SOUTH:Greater Kaohsiung topped the list of municipalities with a 15.9% rise in home transactions, followed by Greater Tainan, Sinyi Realty Inc said

By Crystal Hsu  /  Staff reporter

Major real-estate brokers saw their sales pick up modestly this month from last month, as self-occupancy demand held strong while investors stayed on the sidelines.

Sinyi Realty Inc (信義房屋), the nation’s only listed broker, said housing transactions grew 2 percent this month from last month, after the Ministry of Finance indicated it plans to keep the special sales levy mostly unchanged.

The levy, better known as the luxury tax, subjects houses resold within two years of purchase to taxes of up to 15 percent of trading prices.

TAXABLE PERIOD

The ministry had earlier proposed extending the taxable period to three or five years, but refrained from introducing the extension after weaker-than-expected economic results were announced.

Housing transactions held steady in Greater Taipei, but increased 8 percent in Taoyuan and Hsinchu areas, thanks to sustained popularity of apartments priced between NT$3 million (US$101,197) and NT$7 million, Sinyi Realty said.

Southern Taiwan fared better, as sales in Greater Tainan and Greater Kaohsiung rose 10 percent from one month earlier, the broker said.

Housing prices edged up slightly in the southern parts of the nation, Sinyi said, declining to elaborate.

Taiwan Realty Co (台灣房屋), another major property broker, reported a 9 percent increase in sales, but a 0.9 percent drop in housing prices.

Greater Kaohsiung topped the list of municipalities with a 15.9 percent rise in housing transactions, followed by Greater Tainan at 14.3 percent and Taipei at 11.8 percent, the company said in a report.

Sales in Hsinchu and New Taipei City (新北市) grew 10.1 percent and 9.2 percent respectively, Taiwan Realty said, attributing the uptrend to seasonal factors.

It is a time-honored tradition among Taiwanese newlyweds to buy houses when they start a family, often with help from their parents, the broker said.

TRADITION

The tradition is likely to continue to boost home sales next month, especially for apartments priced below NT$10 million, Taiwan Realty forecast.

H&B Realty Co (住商不動產), the nation’s largest broker by number of franchises, saw home sales decline 6 percent last month from one month earlier, attributable to expectations of interest rate hikes next year.

Central bank Governor Perng Fai-nan’s (彭淮南) recent warning to home buyers to brace for higher interest rates next year accounted for the decline, H&B said.

“Likely borrowing cost hikes helped dampen buying interest, and apartments priced at NT$10 million or lower continued to be mainstream products,” H&B said, adding that it expected sales to improve next month when brokers usually try to strengthen performance.

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